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Saturday, July 30, 2022

Tripp Cromer filled in one season for Ozzie Smith; Saw time over eight major league campaigns

Tripp Cromer found himself in a tough situation in 1993,  a good fielding shortstop at AAA in the Cardinals organization - right behind future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, The Louisville Courier-Journal wrote.

St. Louis manager Joe Torre vouched for Cromer's ability to The Courier-Journal that April, but also his situation.

"Cromer is going to be a big league shortstop, but right now his next stop is hanging around in Ozzie's shadow," Torre told The Courier-Journal. "Who knows how long that's going to be."

Cromer did make St. Louis that year, briefly. He also got to serve as an injured Ozzie's long-term fill-in in 1995. In all, he saw time in eight major league seasons, in 196 total big league games.

Cromer's career began in 1989, taken by the Cardinals in the third round of the draft out of the University of South Carolina.

Cromer started with the Cardinals at short-season Hamilton. He hit .263 in 35 games. He made high-A St. Petersburg in 1990, then AA Arkansas in 1991. He first made AAA Louisville in 1992, then St. Louis in September 1993.

Cromer saw 10 games for the Cardinals that September. He went 2 for 23. He then returned for two more games in 1994.

Then came his big season in 1995, with Ozzie out. Upon his call up, Cromer knew exactly what he was there for and why, he told The Associated Press.

"I'm just here to fill in," Cromer told The AP. "I'm not the shortstop, he is."

The situation aside, Cromer also spoke to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch about simply being there.

"The big thing for me being here is, well, have you ever had something that all your life you wanted to do?" Cromer told The Post-Dispatch. "When it happens, there's just no way to describe that."

Cromer saw 105 total games for the Cardinals that year. He hit .226, with five home runs.

He then played 1996 back at Louisville, before being taken off waivers by the Dodgers for 1997. He saw 28 games with Los Angeles that year, six in 1998 and 33 in 1999.

Cromer moved to the Astros for 2000. He saw nine games in Houston that year, then three final games there in 2003 to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,983
Made the Majors:1,326-33.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,657-66.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:543-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:329

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